Thursday, April 1, 2010

Maundy Thursday at the Desert

Today, the whole Christendom is celebrating Maundy or Holy Thursday. It is just another ordinary day here at the desert. In fact, being the first day of the month and a weekend, it is going to be busy day - beating deadlines for reports, projects, etc... a far cry from the holidays I've always enjoyed back home.

Whether we celebrate or not, what we call a religious observance that decorate our calendars, it serves to underscore the terrible consequences of sin looming ahead at Good Friday and also points to the hope we have in God's grace and the new future that lies ahead on Easter Morning! For me, it will always be a celebration of grace, love and hope!

Two past events in His-story that are linked to the celebration of Holy Thursday today

Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper

"Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" ("A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you"), the statement of Jesus in the Gospel of John 13:34, by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet.
Orthodox icon of Christ washing the feet of the Apostles
(16th century, Pskov School of Iconography).


Holy Thursday (Songs of Innocence)

Holy Thursday is a poem by William Blake, from his book of poems Songs of Innocence. (There is also a Holy Thursday poem in Songs of Experience, which contrasts this song.)

The poem depicts a religious event carried on on a Holy Thursday, in which rows of clean children dressed in cheerful clothes walk into Saint Paul cathedral in a sort of procession, guided by beadles. Citizens of London town, including the aged man, sit and observe the ceremony while thousands of little boys and girls elevate their hands and a song is raised to Heaven.

by William Blake

Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two in red and blue and green,
Grey headed beadles walking before with wands as white as snow;
Till into the high dome of Paul's they like Thames waters flow.

Oh what a multitude they seemed, those flowers of London town.
Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

Now like a mighty wind they raise to Heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of Heaven among
Beneath them sit the agéd men, wise guardians of the poor.
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.

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